McIlroy’s Hopes Sink as Norrman Claims Victory

McIlroy’s hopes were finally ended by a triple bogey eight at the 16th after he found water twice

Horizon Irish Open – final leaderboard

-14 V Norrman (Swe); -13 H Long (Ger); -12 G Forrest (Sco), R Fox (NZ), S Lowry (Ire), T Lawrence (SA); Smith (Eng); -11 S Sharma (Ind), MW Lee (Aus), N Bachem (Ger), R Hoshino (Jap), C Syme (Sco)

Selected others:-10 J Smith (Eng); -9 R McIlroy (NI); -8 R Fisher (Eng), A Meronk (Pol); -7 M Power (Ire); -6 T McKibbin (NI); -5 L Donald (Eng), B Horschel (US) ; Level P Harrington (Ire)

Full leaderboard

Sweden’s Vincent Norrman shot a closing 65 to win the Irish Open as Rory McIlroy blew his chances by finding water four times on the final day.

World number two McIlroy was among several players to struggle as Norrman, 25, came from six behind to win by one at the K Club.

McIlroy was sharing the lead on 13 under but found water at the seventh with his approach.

He did the same again on 11 to drop a shot before making triple bogey at 16.

McIlroy famously fired a sensational three-wood second shot at the 16th to set up his only Irish Open triumph in 2016 and also eagled the hole in Friday’s second round when he holed a 120-yard shot.

However, the par five truly bit back at him as he found water with successive fairway woods over the final two rounds.

To make matters worse on Sunday, McIlroy then hit his nine-iron fourth shot into the River Liffey and, after taking a second penalty drop, needed to hole a 20-footer to limit the damage to an eight.

A birdie at the last meant a 74 for McIlroy as he shared 16th place – five shots off the pace.

Norrman was wowed by the presence of McIlroy and Lowry in the field, saying: “I’m just as starstruck as some of those fans out here seeing those guys, and to be competing against them is so cool. To beat them is even cooler.”

Vincent Norrman is congratulated by his caddie after his final round at the K Club

Vincent Norrman’s final round of 65 enabled him to clinch an unlikely victory at the K Club as a host of contenders fell away

After starting the day tied for 21st, there was little suggestion Norrman was going to triumph as he started with six pars, but a three at the seventh started a charge of seven birdies over his final 12 holes as he moved into the clubhouse lead on 14 under par with the leading groups barely into their back nine.

As New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, Scotland’s Grant Forrest and Australia’s Min Woo Lee were among the players to falter over the closing nine, Germany’s Hurly Long was left as the last challenger despite his successive bogeys on 13 and 14.

However, Long was unable to birdie the penultimate hole despite his near-miraculous escape from the trees and his long eagle putt at the last failed to drop as Norrman’s victory was confirmed.

Long’s second spot secured his tour card for 2024 with home player Shane Lowry showing a return to form following his Ryder Cup selection as a closing 68 left him sharing third place on 12 under with Fox, Forrest and South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence.

Swede Norrman’s only previous professional victory came in the US two months ago when he landed the Barbasol Championship, which is jointly sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

“It means everything,” Norrman said of his victory. “It was a long wait [for everyone to finish] but I’m super happy. I can’t believe this happened. I’m over the moon.

“I was starting off a little so-so and I made two birdies and got a rain delay, had a coffee and then went out and flushed it.”

Leave a Comment

Share to...